So Just Where is that Epistle to the Children?

When the apostles started out, they knew they had work to do. The whole world needed conversion. Everyone was pagan. That is, the world looked very much like it does today. The apostolic approach to the problem differed from ours.

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Peter, for instance, did not set up a single parochial school. Luke did not write a children’s gospel. Not one of Paul’s epistles were decorated with yellow duckies. In short, according to the Scriptures and Church history, the apostles didn’t bother teaching children the Faith. They taught only the adults. Why?

Because the apostles understood the principle of subsidiarity. Pope Pius XI in his 1931 encyclicalQuadragesimo Anno described the principle succinctly: “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.”

The apostles knew they could not replace parents. Through the sacrament of marriage, God endows parents with the ability to teach their own children about Him. The apostles only needed to teach the parents the Faith, it was the parents’ responsibility to teach their own children. So, what has changed in the last two millenia? The answer to that is simple. Nothing.

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Church to celebrate feast of saint who wrote about the ‘long dark night of the soul’

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On December 14, the church  will commemorate the life of St. John of the Cross, the doctor of the Church who first wrote about the “long dark night of the soul.”

John of the Cross was born in the 16th century into a family which had fallen out of wealth. His father, a silk trader, had been disowned by his own family for marrying a woman of a lower social class. The family survived as silk weavers, but John’s father died while John was very young. The boy began to work in a hospital while attending school part time. It is said that he seemed incapable of learning any trade.

He entered the Carmelite Order, but became disillusioned and thought of leaving. Then he met St. Teresa of Avila. Together with the saint, he reformed the Carmelite order by founding the Discalced (literally“shoe-less”) Carmelites.  At the time, many Carmelites had moved  from a life of fasting, prayer and penance. They resented the reforms.

John was kidnapped by members of his own order and imprisoned in a small, cold and dark cell. He was beaten regularly. Yet in this time, he wrote some of his most profound poetry. Eventually, he escaped and was able to share some of his mystical writings with the world. He is famous for having written “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” “The Dark Night of the Soul,” and “The Spiritual Canticle.”

He died at the age of 49, and was canonized in 1726. In 1926, he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI.

Today he is considered one of the first, and greatest mystics.

Read his timeless and classic work “The Dark Night of the Soul”

Read “The Life of St. John of the Cross”